Foreigners consider HCMC night marathon a self challenge

By Thao Nguyen Tran   February 10, 2023 | 10:00 pm PT
Foreign runners see VnExpress Marathon HCMC Midnight as an opportunity to push themselves to their limits and enjoy the Saigon nightlife.

Having lived in Vietnam for five years, Russian Anastasiia Sizaia, 31, will run her first race in Vietnam on February 12.

"I want to challenge myself and my endurance" by running the 10km distance, she said.

She is excited about what lies in store on the track tonight.

She also plans to run in other VnExpress marathons in Hue and Hai Phong, where the distances are a full 42 km and 21 km.

Anastasiia Sizaia (R) receives Bib with her friend. Photo by Thi Quan

Anastasiia Sizaia (R) receives her race bib with a friend. Photo by Thi Quan

Andrey Nizhnik, 39, also Russian, has prepared for his second VnExpress Marathon with high expectations. He will run in the 21-km half-marathon instead of the 10-km distance he ran last year.

"My wife will try the 5 km distance for the first time," he said.

They have lived in Ho Chi Minh City for more than a year, and fallen in love with the city’s dynamism and rich cuisine, he said.

"I am very excited I will see the city at night and feel the peace that is different from the day. My wife and I want to participate in more races, and next time I might challenge myself with a full marathon," Nizhnik.

Wayne Quinn, 64, took a flight from Australia to Ho Chi Minh City on February 10 for the race. He has registered for the 10-km distance and hopes to set a personal record.

Quinn has been to Vietnam 15 times, but this time will be special as he will experience a bustling Saigon with thousands of runners set to join the race.

Wayne Quinn at bib distribution area. Photo by Quynh Tran

Wayne Quinn at the bib distribution area. Photo by Quynh Tran

Canadian Matt Woo, 35, and his wife Vietnamese-Canadian Elizabeth Nguyen have run many races in Canada but this will be their first night race.

The couple said: "It's a pity that the tickets for 21km have already sold out. However, 5km is great for us to experience Ho Chi Minh City's streets at night."

Matt Woo and Elizabeth Nguyen. Photo by VM

Matt Woo and Elizabeth Nguyen. Photo by VM

Jan-Mathieu Donnier, 39, of Ho Chi Minh City has set himself the goal of finishing the 42 km in under five hours. He has run it in 5 hours 20 minutes in the past.

"Full marathon requires willpower. The first 30 km tests physical strength and technique, while the rest needs perseverance. I have challenged myself many times with this distance, but the result has not been not as expected."

Some 10,000 runners will compete in the VnExpress Marathon Ho Chi Minh City Midnight on Sunday. They include hundreds of foreigners living in Vietnam.

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